Sorry to disappoint but there isn’t actually a large roundabout right next to Parliament in London!
On a rare sunny day in London my wandering led me to Elizabeth Tower and Parliament via Westminster Bridge (Big Ben isn’t ringing at the moment).
After dodging the many tourist trap sellers in and around Westminster Bridge, along with many parliament busybody’s, I made it to the Parliament Square Garden. This is an immaculately kept grass area surrounded by a series of dedication statues and lately, Brexit protesters. It’s a fun area to people watch and take in the view of the series of historic buildings and statues surrounding you.
Side note: I swear there is at least 1 statue per street corner in London.
Next up was Westminster Abbey. As we went to the Abbey in the afternoon our line up to get in was only about 10 minutes. During that time I highly suggest studying in detail the series of sculpture work on the exterior of the abbey. What I can’t even achieve in a simple sketch on paper the stone masons of the Abbey managed to carve into solid rock. Seriously…it’s very impressive.
Naturally, photos are not allowed inside the Abbey so paying attention to what you see in the moment is highly important. There are countless graves and memorials in dedication to a series of people throughout the Abbey. There was even a person whose singular job it seemed was to tell you that you were walking across Charles Darwin’s grave in case you weren’t already looking at your feet as you walked. It’s a little strange walking through the Abbey with that knowledge and it will happen more than once. I also saw more than one person reenacting the Royal Wedding of 2011 as many mimicked Duchess Kate and gave a royal wave.
The poets corner is worth checking out as are the rooms of Royal’s past. There are countless King Henry’s and George’s and Edward’s but I personally found Queen Elizabeth’s I and Mary Queen of Scots graves to be more fascinating. Two women who never met are placed quite close to each other. Again, it’s somewhat strange wandering these rooms of the famous English Monarchy while following the conga line of tourists.
I couldn’t help but notice when I was wandering the cloisters surrounding the courtyard of the Abbey that the central courtyard looked a bit like Hogwarts. I really don’t think that that is the main thought people have when surveying the architecture and surrounds but I couldn’t remove the similarity from my mind. All I can suggest is visit and decide for yourself…
My last stop for the afternoon was the Victoria Tower Gardens, nestled against the Thames and Parliament. It’s a quiet park area as most tourists cluster around the other side near Westminster Bridge so if you are after some respite with views it is a good spot to pause.
From here you can take in a view of the other side of the Thames, most notably the London eye and Lambeth Bridge further down the river.
Though it’s a bit disappointing that Elizabeth Tower will still be hidden beneath a wall of scaffolding for a few more years, checking out Parliament and Westminster Abbey are still must do’s when visiting London.